Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has completely misrepresented the situation with regards to the SSA teachers, who have gone without a salary for five months now, the president of the Meghalaya SSA School Association (MSSASA), Aristotle C Rymbai, told Highland Post today.
Yesterday, Sangma said that all states in the country are facing a problem in paying SSA teachers because of delays in transferring the funds from the Centre; Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a central government programme. He also said that regularising the contract teachers would only be possible if the Centre directs and commits to meeting the extra expenses this would incur.
Rymbai said, “We have confirmed information that all other North East states and those elsewhere in the country have paid their SSA teachers until October 2021.”
Only in Meghalaya have teachers not been given their due for the last five months, he added, and this has added up to Rs 150 crore for the 12,541 SSA teachers in the state. While other states may have also experienced delays in receiving funds from the Centre, they have dipped into their own pockets to pay the teachers, Rymbai asserted, but Meghalaya has not.
According to him, the central government contributes Rs 15,000 per month for lower primary SSA teachers and Rs 20,000 per month for upper primary teachers. In Meghalaya, however, the former are paid Rs 19,044 a month and the latter Rs 20,493, with the difference to be made up by the state government.
However, Rymbai went on to say that the state government has not released its share for the past three years, amounting to Rs 104 crore, to the State Education Mission Authority Meghalaya, which oversees the SSA programme in the state.
Rymbai also termed the statement made by the CM on regularisation as totally wrong and an attempt to divert responsibility to the central government.
“As per norms of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, it is clearly mentioned that the central government will provide only the financial support but the appointment and recruitment is a state subject. The norms also state that the SSA teachers should be appointed under the Education Department on a regular basis and not contractual,” he said, quoting a letter from the Centre to the states, which he stated that Meghalaya denies having received.
MSSASA will now sit for an emergency meeting on Saturday to decide on the future course of action.
Meanwhile, the SSA teachers in Garo Hills has asked the West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner to instruct schools to exempt the children of SSA teachers from paying fees while their salary dues are still pending.
The teachers under the banner All Garo Hills SSA School Teachers’ Association (AGHSSASTA) in a memorandum to the DC said, “It’s nearly six months that we have not been paid and this is leading to the fees of our children remaining unpaid for the past few months.”
“Given the current situation we are going through, we should be exempted from paying the fees of our children until our dues are cleared,” they added.